As a new Forrester analyst, I was thrilled for the opportunity to participate in Forrester’s B2B Summit North America. I was excited to meet my colleagues in person, see some old friends, make new connections, and enjoy the full Summit experience. Rest assured, it did not disappoint. And while many of my colleagues had rave reviews for our digital experience, there is still something to be said for in-person events and the energy derived from being together. 

Opening Day

I was clearly not alone in my excitement. The energy was palpable on that first morning. The music was playing, the big screens were displaying our 2022 Summit theme of “Align, Advance, Accelerate,” and people were streaming in. This was it. We were ready. 

My favorite part of the morning was the opening keynote: Become an effective change catalyst. According to the keynote, change catalysts demonstrate four key attributes: courage and clarity; they show tenacity, standing up for and advocating for something new. They demonstrate conviction to bring a possibility to reality at the right time. And they show creativity, connecting their ideas with the hearts and minds of others and patiently cultivating the seeds of change. 

I realized, while listening to the keynote, that the attributes of change catalysts described so many folks in customer success: leaders and individual contributors out there challenging the status quo, paving the way for new ideas, and creating the conditions for change to happen. As a former customer success leader and current Forrester analyst focused on customer engagement strategies, I couldn’t help but wonder: Why weren’t there more customer success folks at Summit?  

Creating The Conditions For Change

Summit had many valuable sessions across a broad scope of disciplines. There were sessions highlighting innovative research in customer success, customer support, sales enablement, marketing, and product management. Case studies from sponsors like Hubspot focused on their customer and community-led growth motion and results. All of these were relevant to customer success, even if tangentially, and I learned something new from all of them. 

Every session taught me more about the functions that work collaboratively with customer success and the challenges they face. But the bigger takeaway — the value realized — was how that information can be leveraged to help break down silos, build stronger relationships, and provide a better experience for customers through more intentional cross-functional collaboration. Change catalysts, indeed.  

Now that I’ve been part of the Summit experience, I feel confident in saying that attending a conference with your peers in other functions is invaluable. It can open you up to new perspectives or validate current ones, allowing you to have more courage in your convictions. The shared experience may also support a reimagined vision and the strategies needed to achieve it, fostering a stronger culture of innovation across all teams. Going forward, let’s broaden our conference horizons. Learn more from and with each other. Be a change catalyst. And as we say here at Forrester, be bold at work.  

If you are ready to be a change catalyst, registration for next year’s event, B2B Summit North America in Austin, Texas, June 5 – 7, 2023, is already open. We can’t wait to see you.